Frequently asked questions about real estate photography.

Becoming an in-demand real estate product photographer in a saturated market can be challenging. However, by constantly honing your skills, developing a unique personal style, maintaining a competent portfolio, and exploring related income streams making a living as a real estate photographer would not be difficult for the passionate and hardworking.

Whether you are just starting out or have some experience under your belt, we’ve provided answers to common questions that will guide your explorations into real estate photography. From real estate photography gear recommendations to how to get the best shots, we’ve got you covered.

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Frequently asked questions.

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How to get into real estate photography?

Our advice here is to start where you are. Even if you don’t have any clients, don’t be scared to ask friends and family to photograph their homes. From there, start compiling shots, gaining experience, and honing your aesthetic. You can then put your best images up on a professional portfolio website to show off your work. Then share your portfolio with real estate and property management agencies.

What is the minimum equipment needed for real estate photography?

We recommend that all aspiring real estate photographers have a professional camera and a standard 24-70mm zoom lens. You will also benefit from a wide angle lens like a 16-35mm, and editing software like Lightroom. From here, anything else is extra, but if you have the budget, a tripod, extra specialty lenses, a remote trigger, and a drone can all help improve your photos. 

Are black and white photographs appropriate for real estate?

You will rarely come across a scenario where black and white photos in real estate photography are appropriate. Remember, your purpose as a real estate photographer is to help sell houses by taking professional images of properties. Potential buyers want to see accurate depictions of what the property looks like. If you’re using black and white, this can greatly impact the buyer’s impression of the space. The use of black and white photography might be more appropriate for architectural photography where the purpose of the photography is more about highlighting the beauty and design of the structure or space.      

large residential home exterior and driveway

What is the best time of day for real estate photography?

For exterior shots, you will likely want to shoot either right after sunrise or right before sunset. These are considered the “golden hours” of photography. Having said that, which way the property is facing could impact this. For interior shots, again, which way the room is facing and how many windows the room has will impact the photos. We would suggest sometime in the afternoon when the sun is bright but not too harsh.  

Is real estate photography hard? 

Real estate photos can be one of the most important assets when selling a house, which often means there is a lot of pressure on the photographer to deliver the highest quality images possible. While you will eventually develop your rhythm and skillset as a real estate photographer, when you’re first starting, ensuring you capture all the right shots can be a lot of pressure. 

How can I make my real estate photos look professional? 

First and foremost, you want to make sure you have the proper equipment to take professional-level photos. In addition, knowing how to adjust your camera settings to various lighting scenarios, and knowing how to adapt the lighting in the space with flash or continuous lighting can come in handy (i.e. shooting in aperture priority mode is often preferred). Lastly, shooting with a tripod can help with creating sharp images. A lot of the “professional look” also comes down to how the property is styled. Work with the estate agent to stage the property properly to maximize the impact in the photos. 

How do you deliver real estate photos?  

As a real estate photographer, it’s not your job to upload the photos to the listing. This is the job of the real estate agent, meaning you will likely deliver the photos to the agent. For this, we recommend a file-sharing service that is easy to use and accessible. Something like Dropbox or Google Drive tend to be popular options. We recommend naming the files with the property address and the particular space for that photograph to help the estate agent in listing the property quickly and accurately (i.e. 123FakeSt-Kitchen-01.jpg).

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How do I get sharp real estate images?

To get the sharpest images possible, the use of a tripod is suggested. This will help reduce camera shake. In addition, if you have a remote trigger that enables you to avoid touching the camera this can also help. Alternatively, if you don’t have the remote trigger, using your camera’s built-in timer should be sufficient. We also recommend using a shutter speed that’s fast enough so you aren’t getting any motion blur. One benefit of real estate photography is that you can take your time focusing your images. Most DSLR and mirrorless cameras these days have the option to manually focus your images and you can zoom in to 5x or 10x to dial in the manual focus before you release the shutter. 

Should I shoot RAW for real estate photography?

You will likely find that shooting RAW will serve you best as a real estate photographer. This is because there is often some post-production editing that is required, which is better carried out when the files are RAW. Keep in mind that the RAW file also contains a lot of information captured by the camera’s sensor, which can be helpful in post-production. 

How much should I charge for real estate photography?

The amount you should charge for real estate photography depends largely on your expertise and clients’ needs. Even with that, your price rate (fixed or flexible) should be within industry standards in your area. 

How to get real estate clients?

You can get real estate clients from real estate agents and building contractors. You can also ask for client referrals from friends, family, colleagues, and even old clients. 

In addition, you can run paid ads on social media platforms to increase your chances of reaching your target audience and clientele. 

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Is real estate photography a good business?

Yes, real estate photography is a good business. Albeit challenging, it is a very lucrative photography niche that you can leverage anywhere in the world. It can be a full-time or part-time source of income, depending on your preferences. 

Is real estate photography profitable?

Yes, real estate photography is profitable. Although it may take one to three years to see a significant profit, you can be confident of earning well if you do the necessary work and align your business with industry policies. 

You can also upgrade your offerings to increase your profitability over time. 

How to grow a real estate photography business?

To grow a real estate photography business, you need to niche down and identify your target audience. Then prioritize continuous professional development as a photographer. Consequently, this effort reflects on your business and facilitates all-around growth. 

You can utilize free online courses and classes for photographers to sharpen your skills.

corporate office space in modern building

What is needed to start a real estate photography business?

To start a real estate photography business, you need comprehensive gear consisting of a camera, lens, memory cards, and a tripod. You can also include a drone, reflectors, lens filters, and an expanded list of lenses to your list as your business grows. You will also need a professional online profile or website housing samples of your work.

In addition, you need authentic photography editing software for image retouching and editing.

How do I advertise a real estate photography business?

You can advertise a real estate photography business on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also advertise a real estate photography business using email and influencer marketing. 

You can also use the traditional word-of-mouth referrals that will come from happy customers.

How long does it take to edit real estate photos?

Editing time will depend based on the deadlines for the job, and how fast you are with the editing software. Real estate is a fast-paced industry so you should look to take approximately 24 to 48 hours to edit real estate photos. However, the duration can vary depending on the number of photos, your editing software, and the expected deadline. 

Taking great shots from the onset and using a comprehensive photo editor can improve your turnover time without compromising quality.  

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How do real estate photographers get leads?

Real estate photographers get leads from running paid, targeted campaigns on diverse social media platforms, websites, and other marketing channels. They also get leads by warm pitching to potential clients and networking at corporate events.

Moreover, real estate photographers get leads from selling digital products—such as ebooks—centered on their expertise. 

Do you need a flash for real estate photography?

A flash is not compulsory for real estate photography, but it will give you a lot more flexibility when capturing interior spaces. Using a flash for real estate photography can improve the appearance of your images but it’s optional, as you can still create great photos without it.

You can also use it interchangeably with natural lights for better balance and versatility.  

drone image of home with pool

Do you need a special license for drone use in real estate?

Yes, you need a special license for drone use in real estate photography. You must obtain a Remote Pilot Certificate with a UAS rating from the FAA. This license permits you to photograph people and buildings.

By and large, the need for a special license depends on your state laws. 

Always make sure to check the requirements to operate a drone in your region.

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